Former DMG Entertainment President Chris Fenton published a book titled “Feeding the Dragon: Inside the Trillion Dollar Dilemma Facing Hollywood, the NBA, and American Business,” with empirical evidence of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) influence on Hollywood productions. In the book he relates his strong experience when he had to deal with censorship and critics of the CCP.
Fenton, a successful American film industry executive, who produced more than 20 films as president of DMG Entertainment, assures in his new book that the authorities of the CCP are modifying the production of American films. During the last 20 years, China has become a growing market for Hollywood studios and its insertion has been increasingly strong.
Fenton, being interviewed in VOA News, admitted to having realized that from his role as president of a powerful film industry firm he was doing something harmful to the United States and even to the world in general, by collaborating to give more influence or power to the CCP.
According to Fenton, he felt the breaking point when Daryl Morey, former general manager of the Houston Rockets, tweeted his support for Hong Kong. The CCP managed to intimidate the NBA, and after the message was published, the CCP abruptly cut its relationship with the NBA, costing the sports league “hundreds of millions” of dollars in profits.
Noting that Americans did not react to such a display of abuse by the CCP, Fenton said he felt it was a wake-up call for him, understanding that companies, not only for the NBA, but also Hollywood and various other industries were getting involved and bowing down to the Chinese Communist Party.
“To get products and services into that market, there are certain rules you have to play in order to get past the CCP, so they allow you access to the consumers. But those processes, those regulations, those things that we need to live by to do it have gotten worse and worse and more amplified over time,” Fenton said during the interview.
Regarding the film industry, Fenton said the CCP has amazing influence on Hollywood. It has an enormous history of censorship both in scenes already recorded, which should have been omitted in the Chinese versions, and influence to modify certain scripts or images.
Above all, issues involving human rights, Tibet, Taiwan, and Hong Kong became taboo subjects in American cinema, according to the Fenton.
He even named cases of films that did not need the Chinese budget or audience, so they decided to be free in their expressions regarding some of the sensitive issues for the CCP. In those cases, the consequences were that the CCP penalized both the director and the studio or filmmakers involved. An example of this case was the film “Red Dawn” produced in 2012.
According to Fenton, making different versions for certain markets may be reasonable. What should be absolutely condemned is that the CCP intends to edit a film so that the whole world sees a reality in accordance with its interests.
“They don’t want the world, for example, to see Tom Cruise’s jacket in Top Gun, because it has the Taiwanese and Japanese flags on the back. So, Paramount, the filmmaker of that movie, said, ‘Well, we’ll eliminate it or blur it for the Chinese market. But China said, ‘No, no, no, it’s not just for the Chinese market, we don’t want that to be seen anywhere in the world,'” Fenton said during his interview.
The CCP’s censorship has come to encompass a myriad of artistic and commercial areas, according to Breitbart. Recently, the South Korean K-pop band BTS (Bangtan Sonyeondan) faced a fierce reaction from the CCP, after the band’s leader made comments expressing solidarity with the United States and supporting its relationship with South Korea.